Resident Profile

DelVikingsTestimonial-profile

Robert Alvarez—Our Resident Doo-Wop Legend

The history of American pop music can’t be written without doo-wop. And the history of doo-wop can’t be written without the Del-Vikings—one of the music industry’s first successful racially integrated groups, and the act that gave us classic doo-wop hits such as “Come Go With Me,” “Whispering Bells,” and “I’m Spinning.” During the mid-to-late 1950s, a performer with the stage name “Mike Machado” sang second tenor in the group. Mike Machado’s real name is Robert Alvarez, and since 2011, he’s been a resident at the Widows Home. Today, when he’s not busy reading books and watching sports on his own customized two-TV entertainment center, Robert fondly remembers his doo-wop days and his travels all over the world, touring with the Del-Vikings.

Robert joined the Del-Vikings in Pittsburgh where he was stationed in the Air Force following his tour in Korea where he served honorably and was wounded in the leg. Pittsburgh is where the group got its start, and its founding members were all fellow USAF members. During his time with the Del-Vikings, Robert lived the life of a true pop star. He played shows all over the world and made appearances on Ed Sullivan and the Allen Freed radio show. He shared billings with famous acts including The Orioles, The Cadillacs, The Platters, and The Moonglows. He even had the chance to spend time with Motown legends Berry Gordy, Smokey Robinson, and The Temptations. After he left the Del-Vikings, Robert formed The Imaginations and sang with the group from 1959-1971, enjoying some success with songs such as “Strange Neighborhood” and “I Can’t Get Over Losing You.” Throat cancer ended his singing career in 1974.

Originally from Chatham, New York, Robert relocated to Dayton when he was discharged from the Air Force at Wright Patterson Air Force Base. Following his successful singing career, Robert worked at an area Chrysler plant for 30 years and retired in 1993. Robert loved life on the road and never settled down to start a family, but he still keeps in contact with his brother and sister who live in Florida and Puerto Rico, respectively. From time to time, his old bandmates come to visit him, which he enjoys very much. Robert follows UD basketball, the Cincinnati Reds, and the New York Football Giants (he’s also adopted the Cincinnati Bengals). Music remains one of Robert’s great passions and he listens to rhythm and blues whenever he can. Robert is a living part of American music history and we’re happy to have him in our Widows Home community.

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